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This is a study of the perceptions of preservice teachers engaged in a human services field experience and the college instructors responsible for teaching the Human Development course attached to the field experience. Student data came from semistructured focus group interviews and student journals maintained throughout the experience, faculty data from onc-onone semi-structured interviews. Using the constant comparative method, data for students and faculty were grouped as follows: a) what students do during their placements, b) benefits and challenges of the experience, c) connections built between their experiences in the field and in the classroom. Analysis indicated that while the experience is generally perceived as valuable, there are gaps between what students actually do and faculty perceptions. Also, certain types of placements are much more powerful than others in yielding desired results of empathy, awareness of diversity and teaching skills. Recommendations for increasing the benefits and minimizing knowledge gaps are discussed.


Fieldwork (Educational method)



Document Type

Journal Article

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Education Commons